Shop Early, Shop Safe.

Although the holidays may look different this year, a little planning will help ensure you and your family have everything you need to celebrate the holiday season.

Shop early

Whether buying online or in-store, making your purchases early will help ensure your packages arrive on-time and avoid the possibility of long lines at stores.

Shop safely

You can protect yourself and your family by wearing a mask, staying home if you’re sick and following your local public health guidelines and regulations.

Shopping tips for this holiday season

Take advantage of early sales

You’ll save money and ensure your items and gifts arrive on time!

Plan ahead

Do as much research as you can online so that you can get in and out of stores quickly and efficiently. Some retailers even offer a live chat with an advisor online or augmented reality technology so you can try clothes and accessories on

Be patient

You may experience longer wait times or other inconveniences due to current pandemic restrictions. Retailers are trying their very best to ensure a safe and smooth shopping experience for everyone as we continue to navigate these difficult times. We’re all in this together.

Be a good shopping citizen this holiday season

  1. Look for retailers with price guarantees – that way you know you’re getting the best price even if you’re shopping early
  2. Wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing. Look for retailers with curbside pick-up for the ultimate in comfortable service.
  3. If you’ve ordered online for pick-up in store, check if there is a fast pass or a shorter queue for you when you arrive at the store.
  4. If you have vulnerable or senior relatives, inquire about dedicated shopping hours or available appointments
  5. While shopping in a group is fun, try solo shopping this year. A quick shop is a successful shop in 2020.
  6. A lot of protocols are new for retailers. If something doesn’t seem right or something goes wrong, consider sending them a note directly before sharing on social media. They’re all trying to do their best.
  7. Remember that we are all in this together. Holiday shopping can be stressful even in normal times. Don’t forget to smile, even behind your mask

By following these tips, you’ll be helping to protect retail workers, your family, and your community and ensuring a happy holiday season for everyone!

6 in 10 Canadians are more worried about fraud today than ever before.

– Interac Fraud Prevention Index Study

Pay safe this holiday season

Online shopping tips

  1. Always use a secure internet connection and, try to avoid free WIFI locations. Make sure the online retailer has a secure site, indicated by both a little lock icon in your browser and “https” instead of “http” in the URL string. 
  2. Only shop on retailer sites that take secure payment. These include credit cards, digital wallets (for mobile) or PayPal accounts that are linked to your credit card or bank accounts. 
  3. Always make sure that whatever device you are using – a smartphone, a laptop, desktop or a tablet – has an updated operating system. It is never a bad idea to have anti-virus, anti-malware and a firewall installed on your device as well.
  4. Have good strong passwords that include a combination of letters, numbers and symbols and is at least 8 characters long. Make it a good habit to change your password regularly, especially as we get into the holiday season.
  5. Print or keep the email of your order confirmation as it is proof that you purchased them item and how you paid for it.
  6. Delete any suspicious emails or texts and never open one that has attachments or links. If you receive an email or text that indicates there is an issue with your order, it could be a scam and probably best you either call customer service or log on to your online account. Also never send personal or financial information through email or text.

Our trusted partner, Interac, has additional tips for staying safe when shopping online this holiday season.

In-person shopping tips

  1. Contactless limits were increased during the pandemic giving you the ability to continue to buy more safely during the holiday season. Amex, Visa and Mastercard raised their contactless limits to $250 and Interac Flash limits are capped at $100.
  2. Use contactless when you can – either with your debit or credit card or your device (accessed through your mobile digital wallet) to minimize your contact with the payment terminal.
  3. If you are regular user of contactless payments, it is a good habit to regularly check your transactions through your online banking portal
  4. Try to limit your contactless payments to one credit or debit card. It is easier to track your spending that way and if any fraud should happen to occur, at least you will have another card payment available as you wait for your new one to be issued. 
  5. Set up fraud alerts with your bank to notify you of any irregular activity-with most you can get text alerts, so you are always in the know.
  6. Set up spend limits on your cards to manage your daily spending but also to avoid fraudsters from charging significant amounts. With most banks, you can now easily change this in real time.
  7. Report lost or stolen cards as soon as you notice it is missing.

See more great information on what Interac is doing to prevent fraud in Canada.

Gift Card safety tips

  1. Get your online gift cards directly from trusted retailers which will allow you to easily receive and send the card electronically. This is especially important if you are buying a high value gift card.
  2. Inspect gift cards when buying in-store and make sure all of its protective stickers are in place such as where the PIN is located. 
  3. Keep the receipt as it can be helpful should any issues arise with the card, plus it verifies activation.
  4. Treat it like cash and keep your gift card in a safe place.
  5. Although they do not expire, it is a good idea to use it quickly so as to avoid any chance of theft or forgetting that you have it.
  6. Be aware of fraud scams that demand payment of fines or penalties with the use of a gift card.

77% believe gift cards could be a thoughtful present, given the current economic and social scenario.

– ResearchandMarkets.com

Resources for retailers

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